‘Family friend’ held for killing woman, daughter; setting their West Delhi home on fire

A 'family friend' was arrested for strangling a mother-daughter duo to death and setting their West Delhi home on fire in a bid to make their deaths look like an accident. Police said the man did so after a failed robbery attempt.

"Darshan Singh, who hails from Hastinapur in Uttar Pradesh, strangled Swaran Kaur, a 78-year-old widow, and her mentally-challenged daughter Balbir Kaur (48), in their Mansarovar Garden house on the afternoon of November 6," Additional Commissioner of Police (West) V Renganathan said.

Police said Darshan, who serves as a sewadar at a gurdwara in Subhash Nagar, had visited the house to seek a loan from Kaur. He had been introduced to her by one of her sons — Devender.

Swaran Kaur, who has six children, used to stay in the house with her sons Devender and Dayal, both of whom work as helps at the neighbourhood gurdwara.

After their house was set on fire, one of their neighbours called the Delhi Fire Service (DFS) at 3:42 pm.

Two fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the charred bodies of Swaran and Balbir were recovered after a 30-minute firefighting operation.

"The bodies were sent to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital for post-mortem examination. The report says they died due to asphyxia caused by strangling," Renganathan said.

Police said the nature of the victims' injuries also suggested that they could have been strangled before being burnt.

Police said they saw Darshan in footage from CCTV cameras installed near Swaran's J-block residence and he was detained for questioning.

They said he confessed to his involvement in the crime and disclosed the sequence of events.

According to police, Darshan had visited their house on November 6 and returned to ask Swaran Kaur for a loan on the same day.

Swaran gave Darshan Rs 2,000 and he saw more money in an iron box. He wanted the entire amount kept in the box, but she refused. Darshan then tried to snatch the box and strangled her when she resisted, police said.

Her overpowered and strangled Balbir too, police said.

After killing the two women, police said, Darshan poured mustard oil on both bodies, put some papers near them and set them ablaze. He escaped with two gold bangles and Rs 23,000.

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